Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Far more important than SEPA

E-invoicing is by all measures far more imporatant than SEPA (a claim I have been making since the first SEPA-discussions).

Far more important for:

- productivity in EU enterprises

- cost savings in the public sector

- CO2 reduction

- and above all as the next milestone in building the Single Market

Allmost all invoices in EU are digitally born – but 93% of them are reduced and empoverished into paper or PDF – only to be re-digitized at great expense and loss of much of the valuable information originally included.

Only 7% make it in digital form all the way into the receivers systems. When this share is increased to north of 50% the impact on migration to SEPA-payments will be radical  as the defacto ready ISO-standard for e-invoices leads to SEPA-payments – automatically.


Crinus said...

Just an example; let's say there's a small international company forming.

They have headquarters in India and sales branch in Europe.

With the new e-invoicing tools both on client side and the consulting company side, can they leverage this tool to ease the practical business processes?

What I've gathered with small IT companies, it's not the technology challenged itself, or sales; but the bureaucratic overhead and regulations that confuse and sometimes inhibit these new kind of "joint ventures" from operating efficiently. At least in the first few meters it seems to be one of the biggest hurdles.

If we had the e-invoice globally, would it enable us to utilize new niche markets?


BoHarald said...

We will have global e-invoicing - only a question of how soon. In Europe we have already two legs - the VAT-directive and the soon-ready global ISO-standard. The next phase is the body - a network of service providers making e-invoicing work just like payment networks.

Crinus said...

Thank you, Bo!

I came into the discussion kind of, what we'd say "from the woods". I've been in the industry myself in around 2005-2006, seeing some of the software and methods how paper invoices were practically scanned in and converted to e-invoices.

What's the role and future of small, proprietary invoicing platforms? Even in Finland I think our financial people probably use hundreds of different kind of software, ranging from MS-DOS era to modern Linux/Windows based systems. Is there a common integration platform in visibility, or do you think that the big players lead the way?


BoHarald said...

I think there will be a consolidation - for cloud computing and even more for cloud services reasons. In the EU space we need players who can do any-format-in and any-format out - on the way to ISO as the network standard.

Crinus said...

What about a scenario where banks could provide larger services to businesses, like in addition to daily transactions, loans, and so on - they could also act as controllers and do bookkeeping, via SaaS type services? Or do there arise conflicts or interest here? What about on the other hand, if this was okay, would this kind of service be profitable to banks?


BoHarald said...

I do not think that banks have an interest in accounting services. Even if accounting can be totally automated with help of the account statements. But the closing of books still requires work by the accounting profession.

Banks should however add features to their e-banking services so that all routine work disappears.